Sorry to keep you all in suspense! Announcements had to be made in other places before we could reveal this publicly and well, you know how the web is...
Sarah was close. Alaska was a good guess. After all, it's almost the same thing! Parts of Alaska look just like this place we are moving to. They both have dreadful mosquitoes and snow more than half the year! And northern lights, and hoarfrost, and hot chocolate... I'm looking forward to it. (I mean, I'm trying to talk myself into looking forward to it. Let's be honest here.)
But Jenn is the lucky winner -- we are moving to MINNESOTA!!
Now, I need to make something clear here. I will admit, this does look a bit suspicious. My husband's brother and his family live there, my mom's sister lives there, and PLAIN JANE lives there!! Those are all good things. I know what you are thinking. The Diamonds women pressed sore upon the man of the house to move, so we could be with family and friends. No, that is NOT what happened. My husband does not make decisions that way. If we had begged him to move, he would have said, "Tough it out. Man up, ladies."
If you are in a church where some sort of man-made governing board decides where God's preachers go, you are not going to understand this. But let me explain anyway.
Almost fifteen years ago when my husband and I and two little girls left Minnesota, my husband said to the Lord, "I am NEVER going back." He should not have said that. He should have already learned that God does what he wants to do with his servants. Mr. Diamonds had planned to move SOUTH (away from snow and cold weather!), and the Lord had us moving to Alberta at that time. (That is NOT south, unless you are at the North Pole or something.) A few years later, as we were driving through the Kingman, AZ area, I told my husband I would NEVER live in that desolation. *ahem* We are 35 miles from there. Now we should both know better than to say NEVER. I hope.
Several years later the Lord planted a seed in my husband's heart, a seed so small that it was summarily dismissed. No way. Not Minnesota. Never going back there, remember? We were in beautiful, warm, mountainous Arizona in a fine church, where God had just sent us two years before. End of subject. My dear husband didn't even tell his wife about the seed. But it was still there, slowly germinating.
And then God poured Miracle-Gro on it. Our trip to Minnesota last summer was NOT a scouting mission, but as we drove through the eastern mid-section of the state, my husband began to be burdened for a gospel-preaching, historic Baptist church in that area. He began to pray the Lord would send a man to start a church there, having no idea that HE was the man! The burden grew greater, but there is a big difference between a burden and a CALL. After more praying and fasting, my dear husband knew. It was a call.
We were not looking to go anywhere else, or even hoping to. It is a blessing to us that God is sending us to a place that we are familiar with, and where we already know people. This is a fringe benefit of my husband's obedience to him. As the under-shepherd of the flock here, my husband has, with much prayer, appointed another man to take his place. No shepherd leaves his flock without committing them to the care of another worthy shepherd.
I have mixed feelings. Suddenly the desert looks amazingly beautiful to me! (Honest, Shani!) Suddenly I have realized many of my faults and failings in this place, and I am ashamed of my struggles here. I could have loved living here for seven years, instead of only one! Pray for me, that I will not make the same mistakes in our new home and in our new church. I am moving with anticipation as well as with fear.
Our date of departure is April 22, Lord willing. Yard sale on the 15th. That means I have only... 8 weeks to pack!!! And do my eBaying... and clean... and say goodbye...